why advertising is annoying
5 minutes read

Do you remember how slow the elements on the pages used to load a few years ago? Did you feel it annoying? Ok, maybe more than just a few years. Make them 10! But still! How about those annoying spammy emails in which you were asked for money from a Saudi prince?

God forbid you clicked on any link in that e-mail. If you did, RIP to your computer, bet it found its peace in your basement.

Ever since advertising, and mostly, online advertising became popular, many people found ways and gimmicks through which to trick users into clicking their ads and content. This needs and wants to gain more and more visitors on websites, gain more followers, and earn more money on the internet easily transformed ads into something disruptive. Ads that play music unexpectedly, never-ending pop-ups, and my personal pet peeve – ads that do not have an exit button, not let you close the window.

All these things that create frustrating experiences made most users hate online advertising and lead them to use ad blockers.

Did you know that 69% of people surveyed by Google in 2016, said that they were motivated to install ad blockers by annoying or intrusive ads? Were you among them?

In order to improve the user’s’ experience when it comes to online advertising, associations, and companies in the online media world have joined forces to create a coalition against bad ads. Or more accurately said, the Coalition for Better Ads. The purpose of this alliance is to conduct researches for developing standards for online advertising and to measure preferences about the ads people least prefer. This coalition comes in aid of all marketers that want to deliver better ad experiences, but don’t know how.

As Google says:

An ad experience is the combination of site layout and behavior, and content and ads that your users are exposed to. An ad experience can be a direct result of the creatives trafficked on your pages (for example, autoplaying video ads with sound) or with how ads are implemented on your site (for example, high ad density on mobile devices).

Research shows that ad experiences that are highly annoying or distracting may discourage visitors from returning to your site.

We believe in the power of qualitative and valuable online advertising and preach it any time we can. And that’s the reason why we decided to create this article about what marketers should know about ad experiences.

So you can preach awesome ads too!

So, what are the most annoying things that can happen when it comes to online advertising?

This is sort of easy and intuitive.

Just like in the offline life, there are 3 things that annoy us the most when trying to concentrate on something:

  • Interruption
  • Distraction
  • Clutter.


#Reason 1: Interruption is disturbing

We, humans, have a deeply curious nature. And when we’re curious about something, we have to elucidate the mystery ASAP.

But if you’re eager to find out who won the last game of the World Cup and there’s a pop-up bugging you and interrupting your quest of finding something you’re curious about, there might be some rage happening.

The ads that disrupt the flow of information a user gets are considered to be the most annoying ones by consumers.

The same research by Google found out that 74% of mobile users find ads that interrupt access to content (like pop-ups) either extremely or very annoying

Actionable tips: When people are in a hurry to find something out, don’t have time or patience to deal with your ads. Especially with the ones difficult to close.

[Tweet “Make sure your ads don’t interrupt the user’s action nor cover your content.”]

See this do-not-do-this-at-home example from Bas Holtrop.

ad interruption on a mobile screen


#Reason 2: Distraction bothers

It’s a known fact that our attention span is nowadays shorter than a goldfish’s. Even with this article, I bet that you were distracted at least once by a messenger notification or a call.

Or you simply forgot you were reading the article and started doing something else. Ads can also be distracting and mostly flashing animations and ones that have sound are what usually distract people in those few crucial seconds when they get on your website.

Don’t you remember those glittery graphics used on ads in the past? Let me give you a blast-from-the-past.

They used to look like this!

disturbing glittering text on ad


Actionable Tip: The first few seconds on your site are the most important. This is why I recommend you to keep it clean and simple. 

[Tweet “Don’t oversaturate your website with flashy and noisy animation that can distract the user”]

#Reason 3:  Clutter hurts the user experience

When you enter a page with dozens of ads, it takes longer to load. And this makes people give up on your website and try finding what they were looking for in another source.

So, make sure the ads you allow on your website are accurate, high quality, and decent in number.

Actionable tip: Remember that people visit your website because they want to read something, see something that you posted. 

[Tweet “Don’t ruin your chances of being read by cluttering your website with ads.”]

Check out this example found by Twitter user Ben Chase:


cluttered ads on o screen

What can you do to create better ad experiences?

  1. Pay attention to your user’s behavior
  2. Be immediate – when ads load fast and don’t stay in the way of getting to information, people are more likely to engage with them.
  3. Ads that blend with the content of the website they’re on are less likely to annoy the visitor.
  4. Be relevant – Stay close to your consumer’s interests. This grows your chances of having your ad clicked on.

Here’s a list of ads that Google found out, after their survey, which are least preferred by consumers and are beneath the Better Ads Standard for mobile and desktop.

This way, you’ll know what to avoid in the future in order to give your users the best ad experience:

  • Pop-up ads
  • Prestitial ads
  • Mobile pages with more than 30% ad density
  • Flashing animations
  • Poststitial ads that require a countdown to dismiss
  • Fullscreen scroll over ads
  • Large sticky ads
  • Auto-playing videos with sound

We salute Google’s initiative of trying to make the internet a better place ad wise and we will continue to raise awareness about the importance of great ad experiences for everyone.

Content Marketing Specialist at Creatopy

1 Comment

  1. You know, I liked the old interactive ads, especially the ones that made me think I was playing a game while waiting for my actual game to load. (e.g. War Thunder’s bomber run and torpedo ship ads before there was a change to make them redirect you to their page on your first click.)

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